Oregon Historical County Records Guide
Washington County Records Inventory
Federal Land Grant Records
Series records ownership of county lands obtained from the federal government. Series includes records of land grants administered under a variety of federal programs such as donation land claims and homesteads. Donation land claims are the most common type of federal land grant in Oregon that is documented in this inventory project. Donation land claims resulted from an act of the 1850 Congress under which citizens of the United States, or those who filed a declaration of intention prior to December 1, 1850 and had resided upon or cultivated the land for four consecutive years, were granted a specified amount of acreage in the Oregon Territory. Donation land claims were unique in that acreage granted to married couples was divided evenly. Half of the acreage was placed in the husband's name while the other half was placed in the wife's name. Records include plats, indexes, and survey notes. Information includes township, range, and section numbers, names of donation land claim holders and claim numbers, claim dates, acreage, and descriptions of surveys.
Under the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers were given 160 acres of land in the public domain if they built a home on the land, resided there for five years, and cultivated the land. A complete homestead entry file includes such documents as the homestead application, homestead proof, and final certificate authorizing the claimant to obtain a land patent. The searchable iSpirits research tool includes a map layer that displays Donation Land Claim boundaries.
Records at the Oregon State Archives:
Assessors Land Abstracts [Homestead], 1904-1916 (1 volume);
Clerk and Recorder Record of Land Claims, 1849-1851 (1 reel of microfilm);
Donation Land Claim Survey [John Griffith], 1910 (.05 cu. ft.);
Land Claim Records, 1849 (.05 cu.ft.);
Record of Land Claims, 1849-1851 (1 volume).
Records at the Public Services Building, Suite 200, Survey Division Vault:
Field Notes Government Surveys Donation Land Claims [with index], vol. 2, 1879-1913 (1 volume);
Field Notes of Donation Claims Public Surveys [with index], 1855-1882 (1 volume);
Gov. Field Notes of Donation Claims and Public Surveys, 1852-1855 (1 volume).
Records at the Public Services Building, Suite 200, Survey Division Main Office:
General Land Office [United States Bureau of Land Management Microfiche Records-includes rectangular notes, mineral claim notes, and Donation Land Claim notes], ca.1850-ca.1998 (8 inches of microfiche);
Map of Washington County Oregon [Withycombe Wall Map-includes land claim boundaries], 1895 (1 map).
Records at the Public Services Building, Conference Room 235, Assessment and Taxation Temporary Map Storage Area:
Map Index of Donation Land Claims [alphabetical], n.d. (1 binder);
Washington County Donation Land Claims [Maps-General Land Office-copies], 1852-1942 (1 volume).
Records at the Walnut Street Center Building, Second Floor Circuit Court Archives:
[Homestead Register-with index], 1887-1889 (1 volume);
Land Business Homestead [Register], 1890-1891 (1 volume).
Records at the Walnut Street Center Complex, Building E, County Historical Records Vault:
Land Business [Records-filed with U.S. Land Office in Oregon City], 1873-1901 (.10 cu.ft.);
Land Office Business [Index], 1892 (1 volume);
Land Office [Record of Homesteads] 1900-1904 (1 volume).
Records at the Washington County Historical Museum:
[Atlas of Washington County Oregon-Wilkes Bros.-includes Donation Land Claims], vol. 1-3, 1909 (3 volumes);
Map of Washington County Oregon [T.S. Wilkes-includes Donation Land Claims-wall map], 1911 (1 map);
[Miscellaneous Maps and Plans-includes land claim, Sanborn insurance, topographical, transportation, vicinity, subdivision, and other topics], ca.1850-ca.1985 (ca.1500 maps).